Paraguay invests in climate-proof roads

Published: 16 August 2017

A climate-proof road network is crucial for Paraguay's economy. The country is heavily dependent on exports of agricultural products and extreme weather conditions due to climate change affect the reliability and availability of the road network. Deltares is to work with the Paraguayan government to identify risks and develop adaptive strategies to make the current road network climate-proof.

It is already clear to see how a changing climate is affecting the Paraguayan road network. Frequent extreme rainfall in the El Niño year inflicted enormous damage. Approximately 70,000 people living on the Paraguay River had to leave their homes. The total repair costs for the roads alone have been estimated at 50 million US dollars. The Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) therefore released 50 million dollars for the restoration and reconstruction of the road infrastructure. Part of that funding is being spent on a risk analysis for the road infrastructure. Deltares, together with the government and CSI Ingenieros, will compile guidelines for adaptive road infrastructure that take extreme weather conditions into account using the ROADAPT approach (Roads for Today, adapted for tomorrow). We will be analysing the causes, effects and consequences of extreme temperatures and extreme rainfall for three major motorways. The analysis will allow us to identify the main risks and to look at measures to mitigate the impact. The next step will be to prioritise the measures and present them in simplified Dynamic Adaptation Policy Pathways. Road managers can draw on these insights and guidelines to take action in good time and keep the road network reliable and available at the lowest possible cost.

Road inspection

‘We developed the ROADAPT approach with European partners. This is the first time we have used it outside Europe, and that is quite special,’ says Mike Woning, a geotechnical expert at Deltares. ‘It’s great to be able to share our European knowledge to make the road network in Paraguay more resilient. One of the things we do is to identify the vulnerable locations. It is possible to locate the high-risk points in the road network using a GIS environment to combine “open data” with specific data. We combine climate data for the area with local knowledge.’

The project will run until December 2017 and it is funded by the World Bank.